Nik Wallenda, a member of the famed "Flying Wallendas" family of aerialists, completed a historic tightrope crossing through the mist over Niagara Falls Gorge on Friday, stepping from a 2-inch wire (5 cm) onto safe ground in Canada to wild cheers from a crowd of thousands.Wallenda made the walk from the U.S. side of the falls to the Canadian side, a journey of 1,800 feet (550 meters) over treacherous waters and rocks, in a little more than 25 minutes.More than a century ago, an aerialist known as the Great Blondin walked a high wire strung farther down the gorge, but a trek over the brink of the falls had never before been attempted.Along the way, suspended over the falls, Wallenda, 33, took small, steady steps on a slick cable through swirling winds. "Oh my gosh it's an unbelievable view," he said as he crossed over the falls. "This is truly breathtaking."ABC, the television network that broadcast the event with a five-second delay, occasionally interviewed him along the walk, asking him about conditions and how he was coping.
"That mist was thick and it was hard to see at times," he said later in the walk, when he was asked about the greatest challenge. "Wind going one way, mist another. It was very uncomfortable for a while."The network had also insisted he wear a safety tether - a first for the performer - that would connect him to the cable should he fall, and said it would stop broadcasting if he unhooked it.Wallenda fought the condition at first, eventually agreeing. But he gave himself an out: he would unhook only if directed to do so by his father, who designed the harness and acted as his safety coordinator.
As it turned out, the tether was never tested. Wallenda walked the wire with what appeared to be perfect balance and confidence.There were 4,000 tickets that sold out in less than five minutes when they went on sale in recent weeks, and crowds began gathering early on Friday."Hopefully it will be very peaceful and relaxing," Wallenda said beforehand. "I'm often very relaxed when I'm on the wire." He added, "There may be some tears because this is a dream of mine."
Since the Great Blondin took his high-wire walk, a ban had been in place on similar stunts over the famed falls. Wallenda waged a two-year crusade to convince U.S. and Canadian officials to let him try the feat. A private helicopter rescue team was part of the $1.3 million that Wallenda said he had spent on the walk.
Kathy Swoffer, of Port Huron, Michigan, who had set up a lawn chair hours before the event, said she had seen the Wallendas perform years earlier in Detroit.
"I think it's a person wanting to do what they do for a living and fulfilling a lifelong dream," she said.
Wallenda's great-grandfather Karl Wallenda died in 1978 during a walk between two buildings in Puerto Rico at age 73. Wallenda repeated that walk last year with his mother.
Wallenda said he had obtained permits for a future walk over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, which would be the first ever attempted and roughly three times longer than the walk over Niagara Falls.
A 84-year-old Chinese man, who started to wear women's clothes and took hormones to enlarge his breasts four years ago, now wants to undergo sex change surgery at this ripe age.
Qian Jinfan, who is married and has a son decided to disclose his secret four years ago, and gave himself the feminine name Yiling to realize his childhood dream to become a woman and concealed the secret until he was 80.
"I thought it was great to be a girl since then," Qian told Nanfang Daily. "When I was around 14, I liked swaying my hips when walking and posing in feminine gestures. But I only showed the real me when I was alone."
Qian, calligrapher by profession , deceived his parents, wife and son all these years.
They never thought he was a transgender person though he wore long hair, bell-bottoms and tight clothes since the 1980s. "The current me is the real me," said Qian, dressed in leopard-patterned sun top, adding, "the past 80 years covered the true me." He goes to women's restrooms and his wife is willing to go out with her femaledressed husband.
He told the newspaper he tried to take pills to look more like a woman in the 1960s, but gave up.
Qian, who lives in southern Guangdong province, said he has longed for transsexual surgery, but the procedure always seemed too risky and complicated. In September 2009, Qian wrote a letter to the Foshan Cultural, Radio, TV, Film, Press and Publication Bureau in Guangdong Province, where he retired, to express his intention. "I didn't write the letter on impulse. I didn't care if the authority would degrade my ranking or decrease my income," he said.
Sheena Monnin, the representative for Pennsylvania in the 2012 Miss USA pageant, which took place this past Sunday (June 3) in Las Vegas, has resigned her title because she claims the contest was rigged and that someone saw a list of the Top 5 before the show even aired on Sunday.The organization claims Monnin sent them an email wherein she severed ties with them due to the new policy regarding transgendered women. She allegedly writes that letting transgender women compete is "against ever moral fiber of [her] being" because she believes in "integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer."
Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss USA and Miss Universe organization tells "Today" that what Monnin is doing is "disgraceful.""It is so ridiculous. The judges, who are tremendous people, and, as you know, they're supervised. by Ernst & Young, everything is certified. They make the choice and they make the choice very, very strongly and very secretly. And that is what happened in this case," says Trump.
"You have 15 people and then you have one person who is selected by the audience, by the viewers ... after that the judges make the decision and they bring it down to 10 and bring it down to 5 and all those numbers are certified by Ernst & Young," Trump continues. "The organization doesn't care who the Top 5 are or the Top 10, so it doesn't care. And it's really disgraceful that she does it. We are going to bring a lawsuit against this girl.""They've done an investigation and they just reported to me about five minutes ago. The person that supposedly [showed the list of the Top 5] totally denies that that ever took place," adds Trump.
He goes on to say he thinks with Monnin this is just a case of sour grapes.
"My impressions were she didn't have a chance of being in the Top 15, not even close. And all this is is a girl who went there, lost, wasn't in the Top 15 and she's angry at the pageant system," says Trump. "All this is is buyer's remorse."